Hide and Seek

february 033A bit of sun for a moment last week

“I suspect that when modern Americans ask “what is sacred” they are really asking “what place is mine? what community to I belong to? …We are seeking the tribal, anything with strong communal values and traditions. But all too often we’re trying to do it on our own, as individuals.” 

“Fear is not a bad place to start a spiritual journey. If you know what makes you afraid, you can see more clearly that the way out is through the fear.” ~ Kathleen Norris, Dakota

Three weeks living alone, a 30 minute drive from town, in mostly dark, drenching rainy days, reinforced how bad I am at fixing and eating a healthy meal alone at the end of the day, and how much I miss having come in the back door friends and family. I miss ongoing conversations ranting and raving about politics as well as rational dialogue. After a few days alone I drew further and further into myself wondering how crazy am I to have walked out of a mostly comfortable, at least familiar way and place.  (Admitting this to my spiritual director is when he advised “read Dakota again.”)

Lying awake at 3:00 AM I began to review all the times I’ve lived with others. When I first began working full-time away from home as a lobbyist and a dial-a-mom, I lived in a big house with a group of guys. Sometimes we fixed meals together, and always had noisy card games and political conversations late into the night. A family with a young child moved in. We shared real child play and care; we women cleaned up the bathroom and kitchen, laughing a lot and sharing sorrows too.

Eventually I moved to another rented house where my daughter joined me to make it a home. A number of moves followed, joined by daughters and sons, and a growing tribe of friends, until I married again and moved into the house owned by my new husband.

I’ve never owned my own house – my husbands owned our houses and I turned them into homes filled with with family and friends. Through moves to Pennsylvania and finally Saipan, women friends, old and new woven tightly into my heart, sustained me. So, I’m not surprised that I am longing for a community of women sharing resources – the kind of living that fills my heart and soul and mind.

Dog sitting ended. I’m regrouping at Matt and Fionas’. Zebbie, almost 6, in my life most days since his birth, still new to all day school, is trying to figure out all our changes. He crawled into bed with me this morning, his arms full of (stuffed) animals. He asked, “Are you done dog sitting?” “Yes.” “Well, I miss Roxy.” After a few hugs he crawled under the covers with an animal and said, “let’s play hide and seek.” He continues to teach “Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world.” ~Trungpa Rinpoche

In an article titled The Buddha on Food Stamps, Joan Witacre who became one of my teachers via her article, writes, “Where did my courage come from? …The decision to enter a new phase of life arose in me without pre-planning, rather than that I made the decision rationally. I recognized and felt that the established structures of my life were slipping away. I surrendered to rather than struggled against this flow of changing circumstances, this uncertain, new reality.” ~ Joan Whitacre

Ditto.  Marian



About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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11 Responses to Hide and Seek

  1. Louise says:

    Just finished baking banana bread before the bananas turn to mush. The aroma is wonderful wish you could smell it from afar.

    Love your blogs.


  2. Carol Huntley says:

    You and Joan Whitacre are brilliant!

  3. Aimee says:

    Have you read Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning? It is a truly magnificent book and one that has lingered on in the embers of my mind after reading it in college many years ago.

  4. A wonderful post, Marian, one I shall read again and again. The quotation from Trungpa Rinpoche is exquisite and very true. And the photograph: so very centering; I can smell the cedar (we had 2 of them in our yard in Seattle).

  5. Donna Butman says:

    How I love your writing the truth of your experience. It inspires me mostly and brings on chuckles often. It is so wonderful to share your life.

  6. thank you George. Your thoughtful responses to some of my posts help keep me writing. Blessings, M

  7. ellen stirling says:

    You’ve reminded me about Susan Bender’s books “Plain and Simple” and “Stretching Lessons”. I think I’ll have to reread them both.
    enjoy the adventure.

  8. jake says:

    Hey There Marian: i want to acknowledge your courage in choosing to step into a journey with no clear destination. I also appreciate the words from Trungpa Rinpoche and remind you of these from your friend Rilke: Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves … Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. – Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet
    Take good care, jake

  9. Some additional thoughts to add to the mix. These are from Margaret Guenther’s Walking Home, From Eden to Emmaus. She writes about the “exodus.” “I have become convinced that, if we are spiritually alive, we keep repeating in our own small way the pattern of sanctuary, slavery, escape, and arrival in the promised land–and not just once but several times during our long lifetime.” “I’d also figured out after more than forty yeas of wandering that I had to be my own Moses.” Finally, “…just when I get comfortable and even a tad complacent, it ill be time to eat the farewell meal, put on my sandals, and depart in haste.”
    Thanks for sharing your journey.

  10. Some of us, like you, take to the road, and I hugely admire your courage in that, dear Marian. Others of us, like me, stay more or less put. But, as you know, that external “settleness” can be deceiving. I for one have been on the odyssey of a life time while sitting still (too still at my desk for too long!) while birthing the book I’ve been destined to write. I love *your* writing and am thrilled for you that you’re building a loyal and wonderfully thoughtful readership for your blog. I so respect and emulate the way your are doing it — one beautifully woven, transparent post at a time. I sit at your feet in awe and look to follow in your footsteps. I’d love to talk soon to learn from you!

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